North Atlantic Abaco Cays

Year of compilation: 2006

Site description
North Atlantic Abaco Cays covers the range from Walker's Cay southwards to Scotland Cay, excluding Great Guana Cay, Manjack Cay, Powell Cay and Spanish Cay. Gilliam Bay is located at the southeast point of Green Turtle Cay. There are extensive sand flats at low tide.

Key biodiversity
This site is a premier seabird nesting area. Most of them have to be birded from a boat. Bridled, Sooty, Roseate and Least Terns, Audubon's Shearwaters, White-tailed Tropicbirds, Magnificant Frigatebirds, Brown Boobies, Brown Noddies and many other species nest on these isolated rocks and cays each year. Gilliam Bay encompasses a large area of tidal sand/mud flats which is home to many species of resident and migrating shorebirds. It is suggested, if possible to bird this area by boat to avoid flushing the birds.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Development that can cause destruction of vital habitats. Pollution from urban developments and visiting boaters. Illegal egging and hunting. Introduced predators such as household pets that can cause disturbance and predation to nest and birds.

Habitat and land use
Many of these Cays are uninhabited and isolated with coastal mangroves and scrub vegetation. Others are sparsely populated all or part of the year. Game and commercial fishing and tourism related products are the primary occupation of the residents. The narrow strip of hard land at Gilliam Bay is undisturbed, except for the east side which is used as a picnic spot for visitors to Gilliam Bay Beach and an almost non-existent track road which leads to the shoreline and flats. The tidal flats are basically undisturbed except for beachcombers and boats small enough to negotiate the shallow waters.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: North Atlantic Abaco Cays. Downloaded from on 15/08/2022.